We’re All Going to Hell!


Comic Book Comics #3

The epic history of comics, as told by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, continues, as we hit the darkest period the comics industry has gone through. We get an abbreviated biography of Dr. Fredric Wertham and his crusade against comics in the 1950s. We get an overview of Wertham’s book “Seduction of the Innocent,” a quick look at the anti-comics Senate hearings, the inside dope on the disastrous testimony of EC Comics’ William Gaines before the Senate committee, and the creation of the Comics Code Authority, as well as one of the few triumphs of that era — the creation of MAD Magazine. Other topics in this issue include: the Pop Art phenomenon, which owed a lot to Roy Lichtenstein’s ability to copy from comic books; the campy 1960s “Batman” TV show; Robert Crumb’s early days; the first fanzines; the birth of the Silver Age; and Jack Kirby’s not-exactly-joyful reunion with Stan Lee.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent cartooning and clever wit do a lot to lighten up the most completely rotten chunk of comics’ history. I’m also digging the reminders of how early it was that pop culture was being impacted by comic books.


Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #3

Hellboy pays a visit to a woman who was once kidnapped by the Fae and replaced by a changeling. They have a meeting with Mab, former queen of the Fae, who warns them that war is coming and terrible times are on the way for Hellboy. And the world’s witches get dire punishments from a mysterious and powerful woman who plans to lead an army against the world. We also get more of the origin story of Koshchei the Deathless, mythological figure of Russian folklore. After he was killed by his treacherous wife, he was resurrected by his dragon patron. Koshchei then hides his soul (inside an egg, then inside a duck, a rabbit, a goat, and on an island beyond the edge of the world) and sets out to get revenge on his betrayers.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely creepy stuff, with some good long-range suspense starting to build. What’s up with Hellboy? Is he going to become the Beast of the Apocalypse after all?

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